"Strange lizard" in Florida - FaunaClassifieds
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Go Back   FaunaClassifieds > Reptile & Amphibian - General Discussion Forums > Herps In The News

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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 03-05-2009, 08:37 AM   #1
GottaLuvHerps
"Strange lizard" in Florida

This just makes me mad. Does anyone else see that this poor scared animal is a tegu, and not a nile monitor? I would highly suggest to everyone to email the news station and "correct" them. I don't know what is more disturbing...the print story or the insane amount of misinformation in the video.

Link to the story
http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/new..._lizard_030409

My email to them -

I wanted to email you and let you know that the lizard in the story you have posted on your website is NOT an African Nile Monitor, but a Black and White Argentine Tegu. These 2 animals are VERY different from one another, and a tegu is NOT a dangerous animal at all.
The sensationalistic approach to this story (both in video and in print) really does make it seem like the lizard is not unhappy because it is in a small box with a glass lid and people poking and peering at it constantly, but because it is "mean" or "dangerous", and really gives the reptile community and reptiles in general a bad reputation. It saddens me to see that this type of approach is taken just because the animal in question is a large lizard.
I would also suggest that before airing a story with absolute "fact" on the species, that some research should be done so as to report correct information.
Please know that this story is being shared throughout the reptile community already, and there are quite a few reptile keepers/lovers who are upset about this story, the misinformation and the general bad reputation you have given this poor, scared animal. Hopefully the keeper who took it in will be able to provide a good home, and will be able to at least properly identify the tegu as a tegu.
Kelly Kordek
 
Old 03-05-2009, 09:22 AM   #2
GottaLuvHerps
Just an FYI -

I already have contacted some people to find out if we can locate this tegu, find out what the situation is, and what we can do about it. If I find anything out, I will update the thread. I just don't want to see anything happen because of misinformation and misidentification. Maybe we can actually find it and get it a real home instead of being put down or shoved into some "zoo" that has no idea what it is dealing with!
 
Old 03-05-2009, 10:16 AM   #3
Mokele
Sadly, this isn't the first report of a tegu from Florida I've seen in the past few months. I'm hoping these are just released pets, not individuals from an introduced population.
 
Old 03-05-2009, 10:22 AM   #4
GottaLuvHerps
The wild population of tegus in Florida has grown extensively, so it is very possible that this one is from a breeding group that has established itself in the wild. Hopefully not though. Either way, wild or not, I would still be willing to take it in if it would be in any danger or being put down.
 
Old 03-05-2009, 01:38 PM   #5
WiseReptiles
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reedy Plumbing Inc
5186 State Rd 674
Wimauma,FL33598
813-634-1163
www.reedyplumbing.com
 
Old 03-05-2009, 03:00 PM   #6
GottaLuvHerps
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiseReptiles View Post
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reedy Plumbing Inc
5186 State Rd 674
Wimauma,FL33598
813-634-1163
www.reedyplumbing.com
I did speak to the person who answered the phone at Reedy this morning, whom I believe was Sheree, the owner. She told me that the tegu was taken to "some wildlife zoo in Ocala" but she did not know anything else. I did explain to her that she did NOT have a dangerous African Nile Monitor on her hands, but a tegu that was scared out of its mind, and she felt a little better. I have calls into the Florida F&W to try to track down what is going on with this poor guy, and also have contacted a local rescue down there (CrocEncounters.org) to see what they can find out. So far, I have received no response from the news station or Florida F&W.
 
Old 03-05-2009, 03:15 PM   #7
GottaLuvHerps
Update...

Talk about timing. I just got off the phone with Janice Jones, who is going to be looking into things further. She asked that I email her a link to the news story, and will be calling me with any information she can find out about the tegu and what has happened. I will keep you updated!
 
Old 03-06-2009, 09:28 AM   #8
varnyard
I am being told that the dangerous animal has been sent to a reptile park in Ocala.

Here is one of the same dangerous animals I have:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9iPN...e=channel_page

I also like the header: No one wants this animal.

What a joke, if I was cornered like that I would attack them too.
 
Old 03-06-2009, 10:28 AM   #9
Mooing Tricycle
Quote:
Originally Posted by varnyard View Post
I am being told that the dangerous animal has been sent to a reptile park in Ocala.

Here is one of the same dangerous animals I have:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9iPN...e=channel_page

I also like the header: No one wants this animal.

What a joke, if I was cornered like that I would attack them too.
lol i love that video bobby!
 
Old 03-06-2009, 02:18 PM   #10
Seamus Haley
Quote:
Originally Posted by varnyard View Post
I am being told that the dangerous animal has been sent to a reptile park in Ocala.
Good.

What I think is a lot less good is the tone that has arisen where people seemed willing to assume the worst and attack Florida's Fish and Wildlife officers.

The LEOs down there who deal with wildlife issues face one of the roughest situations in the world and they do a damn fine job under the circumstances. A climate that makes many invasive species flourish, a delicately balanced natural ecosystem that's having problems due to development, industry and invasive species, one of the highest concentrations of imports from tropical areas in the country (for both animal imports and stowaways with other products)- the sheer number of random, loose animals they deal with is staggeringly large.

This is not a situation where there are a few of these abandoned or invasive reptiles found per year. They find them daily and are forced to figure out a way of dealing with them all. They have one of the better budgets in the country- and better trained and equipped officers, but the simple fact of the matter is that there isn't enough money allocated to their efforts to deal with every invasive animal in a warm cuddly manner.

It's great that this animal was placed with a reptile park. I have no doubts that an attempt to place it would have been made anyway, with phone calls sent out to those who have made it know that they're receptive to reptile rescue efforts. I have some doubts that it would have been accepted as quickly and easily if it hadn't been on the local news- but that may just be my own cynicism shining through. As great as it is that it was placed though, if it had been euthanized, then it would have been because there was no other option and a quick, humane death was a better choice than letting it starve because there was no cash allocated to feeding it. It would not have been because of some local news report that got the species wrong and called it dangerous.

The Fish and Wildlife officers in Florida should be the recipients of your support and admiration, not your condemnation and scorn. They do an amazing job given the ever increasing problems they're faced with.
 

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